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The Olivet Discourse    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

This exegetical discourse is a study of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and 25. The Olivet Discourse is a connected discourse by Jesus providing the signs of the Second Coming to the Jews saved in the tribulation, the Church and the Gentiles saved in the tribulation. Jesus comes to the unwatchful Church like a thief in the night, but “that day” does not come unawares on the watching Church in accordance with the following Scriptures:  

(Luke 21:34 KJV)  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.  

(1 Th 5:4-6 KJV)  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. {5} Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. {6} Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  

(Rev 3:3 KJV)  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  

The Olivet Discourse is found in chapters 24 and 25 of the book of Matthew. A common error among prophetic scholars is the failure to see the Church in the book of Matthew, and especially in the Olivet Discourse. It is routinely stated that the Olivet Discourse is all Jewish and does not pertain to the Church. This very serious exegetical error conveniently applies all the promises to the Church, and all the warnings to the Jews. The commands of God are also relegated to the Jews by those in the Church, while the privileges are retained without any precepts or responsibilities being applied to the Church. This is an incorrect division of Scripture. The result is failure to correctly interpret the Olivet Discourse or to present a logical, consistent picture of the signs that will accompany the return of Jesus Christ to planet earth to set up his kingdom.

The Gospel of Matthew does portray Jesus Christ as King of the Jews, and it also speaks much about "the kingdom of heaven." Many theologians also err in this respect by setting aside "the kingdom of heaven" as being Jewish or earthly only. The kingdom of heaven has two compartments with one being earthly and one being heavenly. The Jews were promised an earthly Jerusalem and Christians were promised a new heavenly Jerusalem.

The Son of Man as the ladder of Jacob unites the earthly aspect with the heavenly aspect. Jesus as the Son of God is the point of the ladder that touches heaven while Jesus as King of the Jews is the foot of the ladder that touches the earth. Thus, the Church is found in the Gospel of Matthew, and even in the Olivet discourse, contrary to the traditional teaching by seminaries.  

The Olivet Discourse actually addresses all three classes of people who are part of God's overall plan. Every human being belongs to one of these three classes of Jews, Christians, or Gentiles. The Jews and the Gentiles who are God's people (i.e., they were saved outside of the Church age) are attached to the earthly portion of the kingdom while the Church belongs to the heavenly portion.  

It is important for the reader to first understand the term kingdom of heaven before the Olivet Discourse is explained. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are the same. The Scriptures teach us that the kingdom of God has three different aspects that correspond with the Trinity of God.  

The first aspect is the kingdom of God the Father, and it is the rule of God over all creation. This means everything created including planets, angels, animals, lost men, saved men, and even the insects. Every molecule in the universe comes under God's dominion in this aspect of his kingdom. Daniel 4:34-35 refers to this aspect of the kingdom. When a person is born physically he enters the Kingdom of God the Father.  

The second aspect is the kingdom of God the Holy Spirit, and it rules over the believer's heart and life but only by permission from the believer. This kingdom is entered by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 14:17-19 refers to this aspect of the kingdom. The spiritually reborn person after entering this aspect of the kingdom has two ways that he can live his life. If he allows his depraved flesh nature to dominate, then this aspect of the kingdom will not be operating within the believer. This believer is referred to as a carnal Christian.

However, if the believer allows the Holy Spirit to dominate, this kingdom will be in operation, and He will experience righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit while being a faithful servant to Christ and acceptable to God the Father. This Christian is called the spiritual Christian, and he will qualify to enter the third aspect of the kingdom that is described next.  

The kingdom of God the Son is a visible, literal, corporeal, and future kingdom that has boundaries of time and space. The Old Testament calls it the "messianic kingdom," while the New Testament refers to it as the millennium or the kingdom of heaven. This kingdom is still future, and it is the one that Jesus Christ commanded his disciples to pray for when he instructed them to pray, "Thy kingdom come." This kingdom is entered by works, and numerous Christians will fail to enter because of sin, disobedience and a love of this world. Numerous Scriptures refer to this kingdom in the New Testament. It is commonly believed that all Christians will enter this kingdom, but this is not true. The following Scriptures are just a few that confirm that only a relatively few Christians will enter this aspect of the kingdom:  

Luke 18:17 (KJV) Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Luke 18:24-25 (KJV) And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 14:22 (KJV) Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:5 (KJV) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Mat 22:14 (KJV) For many are called (i.e., saved), but few are chosen (i.e., to enter the kingdom).

2 Th 1:5 (KJV) Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:  

Entrance into this kingdom is by works in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a privilege that will be granted to those believers who have earned rewards. Those who lose their rewards will not be granted this privilege. The following Scripture warns Christians not to lose their crown:  

Rev 3:11 (KJV) Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

In summary, the three aspects of the kingdom of God operate in different spheres. The first is entered by creation or physical birth. The second is entered by the new creation or the new birth. The third must be entered by re-creation by the washing of water by the Word. This is through confession of sin and growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord, and thus earning rewards.  

The majority of preachers and teachers in the Church today teach only the second aspect of the kingdom, and they believe that one only needs to be saved to receive rewards and enter the third aspect of the kingdom. Numerous Christians will be surprised and even shocked when they are not allowed to enter the kingdom of God the Son.  These Christians who do not "study to show thyself approved unto God" will not be invited to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.  

The nation of Israel spurned the offer of the kingdom of heaven when they rejected Jesus Christ as their king. The reason for this rejection may be directly attributed to the actions of the Scribes and Pharisees during the time of the earthly ministry of Christ.  

The Scribes and Pharisees were regenerate Jews who had fallen into pride and sin, and they had become barren. This is why Jesus' message to them was not, "Believe and be saved," but, "Repent for the Kingdom is at hand." They had no fruit in their lives and had stopped watching for the coming Messiah. The carnality of the Jews caused them to reject Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. It was because of this rejection that the offer of the kingdom of heaven was taken away from the nation of Israel and offered to a new nation that would bring forth fruit (Mat. 21:43). This new nation was the Church, and the criterion for receiving the kingdom was still the bearing of fruit. It was not automatic upon salvation.  

It was because of Israel's rejection of Jesus that the house of Israel would become a desolation and remain so for approximately two thousand years (Hos. 5:15-6:2). The offer of the kingdom remained open to Israel for 40 years, and if the Jews had repented as a nation, Jesus would have set up his kingdom then. The failure of the nation to repent resulted in the desolation of the house of Israel by the armies of Titus in 70 A.D. The term house of Israel included the people, the temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the land of Israel. This desolation will extend through the Great Tribulation (i.e., the time of Jacob's trouble), but Israel will be restored at the beginning of the third millennium. This restoration was what Jesus' disciples were inquiring about when Jesus gave his discourse about the signs that would accompany his second coming at the end of the age. Jesus gave this discourse to his disciples while He sat on the Mount of Olives so it has become known as the Olivet Discourse. 

The Olivet Discourse is a three-part, connected discourse dealing with the Jews, the Christians, and the Gentiles.  The first part pertains to the Jews (Mat. 24:4-31) while the second part deals exclusively with the Christians (Mat. 24:32-25:30).  The third part concerns the Gentiles (Mat. 25:31-46).

The first part deals exclusively with events pertaining to Israel during the seven weeks (i.e., the 49 years) of Daniel, and Daniel's seventieth week (i.e., the seven-year tribulation), and with the return of Israel's Messiah at the end of the tribulation. Israel had rejected the Messiah so they must now pass through the Great Tribulation and await their Messiah. The second part concerns the new recipients of the offer of the kingdom of heaven. The emphasis in this section is on present faithfulness during the current Church Age in view of the return of Jesus Christ to judge the Church and assign positions in the millennial kingdom. The third part concerns the judgment of the Gentiles at the return of Christ in power and glory at the conclusion of the tribulation. The Sheep and Goat Judgment in Matthew 25:31-46 has nothing to do with the Church. It is a judgment of the saved Gentiles on the earth at the end of the seven-year tribulation. The unsaved Gentiles on the earth at the end of the seven-year tribulation period will have been trampled in the wine-press of the wrath of God. Their Judgment will be at the White Throne Judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom. The Church will have finished their judgment 3 1-2 years earlier in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period at the Main Harvest Rapture. 

The Jewish section is restricted primarily to the time period from the establishment of Israel in 1948 until the coming of Christ in power and glory at the end of the seven-year tribulation period. Israel as a nation had been set aside during the time period from 70 A.D. until 1948, while God removed from the Gentiles "a people for his name." God began dealing with Israel on becoming a nation again before the turn of the 20th century, and the time clock of Daniel’s seventy weeks was started again with respect to the seven weeks at the time of the Jerusalem Proclamation on January 23, 1950. The actual first week of the seven weeks did not actually commence until the New Year on Rosh Hashanah in the year 1956, which was 6-1/2 years after the Proclamation. The seven weeks would have ended on Rosh Hashanah 2005. If this is true and our understanding about Daniel’s Seventy Weeks is correct, then the First fruits Rapture should take place no later than spring of 2012. Otherwise, an eighth week would end on Rosh Hashanah 2012, and the prophecy would not be true. If this happens, then we will know that our understanding of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks is incorrect, since we know that the Word of God cannot be in error. See the subheading The Seventy Weeks of Daniel  below for a more detailed explanation of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.

The Christian section of the Olivet Discourse pertains to the Church, so it deals with people during the present time (i.e., the Church Age) who are the recipients of the offer of the kingdom of heaven after Israel's rejection of the offer. Events during this section occur during the time of Israel's desolation. The common belief that this section concerns Israel is not true. Jesus used parables to teach in this section, and parables were for the Church. It is important to note that no parables are used in the Jewish section, and no parables are used in the Gentile section. The kingdom of heaven has been taken from Israel, and it is being offered to those in the Church who are "bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Mat. 21:43). Of course, there are many individual Jews who become part of the Church and receive the offer, but Israel as a nation will not receive the heavenly aspect of the kingdom. Israel as a nation does not repent and turn to Jesus until the end of the tribulation, so the nation of Israel will receive the earthly aspect of the kingdom at that time.

The Gentile section only has Gentiles in view outside of the Church Age, since God will have completed his dealings with both the Church and the nation of Israel. "Judgment must begin at the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17). The Church and the nation of Israel must be judged first, and then God will judge the Gentiles on the earth at the end of the tribulation, and immediately before the millennial kingdom is established.  

There are several distinctions among the three sections that separate them. Parables are found in the Christian section alone, and this is in accordance with Matthew's gospel leading up to the discourse. Parables appear in the Gospel of Matthew in chapter thirteen, and it was at this point in the ministry of Jesus that He left the house, went down by the seaside, and began to speak in parables. The house refers specifically to Israel, and the sea is peculiarly related to the Gentiles. Thus, the teaching in Matthew 13:1 is that Jesus departed from the group to which he came (i.e., Israel), went to an entirely separate group (i.e., the Gentiles), and began to speak in parables. Thus, the first mention of parables in Matthew's gospel is peculiarly related to the Gentiles and the taking out of the Church.  

Another distinguishing mark among the three sections pertains to salvation and judgment. Salvation in the Jewish section is concerned with physical deliverance, and the judgment associated with it is the Great Tribulation here upon the earth. The salvation in the Christian section pertains to the believers' soul/life, and the judgment is the Judgment Seat of Christ in the heavens. Salvation in the Gentile section pertains to entrance into the kingdom, and the judgment takes place with the Son of Man seated on "the throne of his glory" down here on the earth at the end of the Tribulation.  

Each of the three sections of the Olivet Discourse must be understood separately from the other two sections, or there will be confusion and gross misinterpretation of Scripture. This is the reason the parable of the ten virgins is so grossly misinterpreted, and so few Christians actually understand its meaning.  

In summary, the kingdom of heaven (i.e., the millennial kingdom) is the focus of God's plan since the creation of Adam, and the Olivet Discourse describes God's final dealings with the three divisions of mankind—Jew, Christian, and Gentile—just prior to the end of this age and leading into the millennial kingdom. It is important to note that entrance into this kingdom—both earthly and heavenly spheres—Is dependent upon works that pass through the judgments of Jesus Christ. The sad truth is that the majority of the Church are completely oblivious to these kingdom truths, and they have no idea about what lies just ahead at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ will be a traumatic time for numerous Christians  

Jewish Section (Mat. 24:4-31)  

The Jewish section of the Olivet Discourse begins at Matthew 24:4 where Jesus answers the question from his disciples about the desolation of Israel until the nation of Israel shall see Jesus and say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." The larger scope of the question that the disciples asked included the desolation of the "house of Israel" as well as the destruction of the temple. Luke 21:20-24 describes the initial desolation of the house of Israel by Titus in 70 A. D. This was when the temple was destroyed and the Diaspora took place. Jesus said nothing about his coming in connection with the destruction of the temple.  

Matthew 24:4-31 restricts itself to the time period between the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the coming of Jesus Christ in power and glory. Anyone who thinks that God is not dealing with Israel at the present time has not read a newspaper or news webpage recently. The disciples asked Jesus about the desolation of Israel and what would be the sign of his coming to restore Israel. Since the sign for the coming of Jesus depended upon whether a person was a Jew, Christian, or Gentile at the time, Jesus answered the question for each of these three classes of people. The response to the Jew is in Matthew 24:4-31. The description is that of the present time period that began in 1948, and will continue until Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives at the end of the seven-year tribulation period. The seven-year tribulation period is called the seventieth week of Daniel, and is explained as follows.  

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel  

(Dan 9:24-27 KJV)  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. {25} Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. {26} And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. {27} And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. 

Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9:24-27 concerns three time periods dealing with the nation of Israel. Each of the first two time periods begins with a proclamation for Israel to return to and restore Jerusalem, and it ends with the coming of Messiah the Prince to the faithful ones looking for his coming. The first time Messiah the Prince came was to the shepherds abiding or working in the fields at night. They were wide-awake tending the flock of sheep. The second group was the wise men looking for the coming of Messiah the Prince.

The first decree or proclamation that went out to return to and restore Jerusalem was in 444 B.C. and this decree was issued by the Persian king Artaxerxes, who gave the Jews permission on Nisan 1, 444 B.C. to rebuild Jerusalem. A week is a specific seven-year period ending with a Sabbath year. Since 444 B.C. was a Sabbath year that ended on Rosh Hashanah 444 B.C., the sixty-two weeks ended on Rosh Hashanah 10 B.C. The prophecy is clear that the coming of Messiah the Prince would be after the sixty-two weeks. Jesus Christ did come to earth in 4 B.C., according to Ussher’s Chronology. This was actually six years into the sixty-third week, but it was after the sixty-two weeks just as the prophecy states. Thus, the first period ended with the coming of Messiah the Prince after the sixty-two weeks, and Messiah was cut-off or killed, just as the prophecy states.

The second time period began with the Jerusalem Proclamation on January 23, 1950, but the start of the first of the seven weeks did not begin until Rosh Hashanah on the first of Tishri in the year 1956. 1956 would have been the last possible year that would begin a week.

If this is correct and our understanding of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks is correct, then the seven weeks began on Rosh Hashanah 1956 and ended on Rosh Hashanah 2005. This would mean the seven weeks began on the first of Tishri 1956 and ended on Rosh Hashanah 2005. In order for the prophecy to be accurately and completely fulfilled, Messiah the Prince must rapture the First fruits of the faithful and wise in the spring before the first of Tishri on Rosh Hashanah 2012. Just as Messiah the Prince came the first time after sixty-two weeks plus six years, it seems highly probably that He will manifest himself in the First fruits Rapture after the seven weeks plus six years. This would place the First fruits Rapture in the spring of 2012. It would also allow for Antichrist to appear in the spring and establish himself in power in order to “confirm the covenant with many” at the beginning of the last week on the first of Tishri on Rosh Hashanah 2012. The following chart depicts the three time periods in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks in accordance with the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-26:

Time Period in Weeks Start of Period Dates of Week(s) Event After the Period
Sixty-two Weeks Decree of Artaxerxes on Nisan 1, 443 B.C. Tishri 1, 443 B.C. - Tishri 1, 9 B.C.
(Total of 434 Years)
Birth of Messiah the Prince in 4 B.C., which was 62 weeks & 6 years after the start of the 62 weeks on Tishri 1, 443 B.C.
Seven Weeks Jerusalem Proclamation January 23, 1950 Tishri 1, 1956-Tishri 1, 2005 Messiah the Prince Raptures the First Fruits before Tishri 1, 2012, which would be 7 weeks and six years after the start of the seven weeks on Tishri 1, 1956.
One Week Antichrist confirms the Covenant on or before Tishri 1, 2012 Tishri 1, 2012-Tishri 1, 2019
(Total of 7 years)
Reconciliation of Israel at the Second Advent of Christ, which would take place no later than Tishri 10th, 2019. The Feast of Atonement is Tishri the 10Th, and would be the Day of Israel’s Atonement.

It must be remembered that a week in Scripture is an exact seven-year period of time that begins at the New Year on Tishri the 1st and ends on the same date at the end of a Sabbath year. The last of the seven weeks ended with the Sabbath year on Rosh Hashanah 2005. Only sixty-two weeks elapsed after the Decree of Artaxerxes until the birth of Jesus Christ, and it seems certain that only seven weeks will elapse after the Jerusalem Proclamation until the First fruits Rapture of the Faithful & Wise. If our understanding is correct on this, then we have approximately one year left before the First fruits Rapture takes place. We do not know the day and hour, but “that day” is not coming upon us unawares.

The first sixty-two weeks of Daniel ended when Messiah was born, and then Messiah was “cut off” or killed when He was crucified as atonement for our sins. The Church Age was implemented after the end of the sixty-two weeks and after the rejection of Jesus Christ as Israel’s king. The kingdom of heaven was taken away from Israel and given to the Church, but Israel was given a final 40 years to receive Jesus Christ as king. At the end of the 40 years the kingdom of heaven was finally taken away from Israel, and Israel was cut off from being a nation in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Roman General Titus. The Jews were scattered among the nations for two days (i.e., 2000 years), while God is taking out a people for his name, which is the Church (Acts 15:14). God began working with the Jews again in the Zionist movement before the turn of the 20th century. God’s purpose was to regather Israel and establish Israel as a nation. Even though Israel was established as a nation in 1948, the time clock of the seven weeks in Daniel’s seventy weeks did not start until the Jerusalem Proclamation on January 23rd 1950. We have already seen that the seven-week period extends from Rosh Hashanah 1956 until Rosh Hashanah 2005. The seven-week period has ended, so it is very close to the time that Messiah the Prince will remove the Faithful and Wise in the First fruits Rapture of the Church. This event should occur just before the end of the eighth week, to allow just enough time for Antichrist to make his appearance and initiate the last week in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. Of course, this is contingent upon our correct understanding of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. We have been striving to understand Daniel’s Seventy Weeks for 34 years, and we have been wrong before in our understanding. However, it must be remembered that the understanding of God’s prophetic Word  is progressive in nature as we get closer to the time of the Return of Jesus Christ. We believe the time is very, very close and that our understanding of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks is correct.

(Mat 24:4-5 KJV)  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. {5} For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Verses 4 & 5 clearly state that many people will come in the name of Christ, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, but will deceive many. This has happened with the cults in the 20th century where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Christadelphians come in his name and profess that Jesus is Christ, yet they are deceptive in their teachings. Both deny the Deity of Jesus Christ even though they use his name in the name of their cult. This prophecy has been fulfilled. 

(Mat 24:6-7 KJV)  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. {7} For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  

Verse 6 is parallel with the red horseman of the apocalypse, and verse 7 is parallel with the black and pale horsemen of the apocalypse in Revelation 6. The red horseman is war, and the black horseman is famine and pestilence. War, famine and pestilence will result in the pale horseman or death and Hades for one-fourth of the world population. Russia is the red horseman and will take peace from the earth in the first half of the tribulation period when they invade Israel. Antichrist as leader of the ten-horned beast—including the EU and America—will come to the assistance of Israel. There will be a limited nuclear war between the superpowers. This war and the aftermath of famine and pestilence will result in the death of one-fourth the planet. America will not be totally annihilated in this war, since this happens at Armageddon at the end of the tribulation period when China—the kings from the East—come against Antichrist.  

(Mat 24:8 KJV)  All these are the beginning of sorrows

Verse 8 is a transition from the first three and one-half years of Daniel's seventieth week to the last three and one-half years, which is called the "time of Jacob's trouble." The first three and one-half years are only the beginning of sorrows for the Jews. When the Main Body of the Church is raptured at midtribulation, Antichrist will begin persecuting the Jews during the last half of the tribulation period. Millions of Jews will die in the last half of the tribulation, just as millions of Christians will die in the first half of the tribulation period.  

(Mat 24:9 KJV)  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

Verse 9 is when Antichrist turns against the Jews in the middle of the tribulation, and they suffer much affliction and death at the hands of Antichrist.  Antichrist will persecute and murder more Jews and Christians than Hitler. Two-thirds of the Jews will die during the last half of the tribulation period.  

(Mat 24:10-13 KJV)  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. {11} And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. {12} And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. {13} But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  

Verses 10, 11, and 12 record the Jewish reaction to the unprecedented persecution of the Jews by Antichrist.  Verse 13 speaks of the remnant of the Jews that will endure to the end and be saved.  One-third of the Jews will pass through the Great Tribulation and be physically saved on the Day of Atonement when Jesus Christ returns in power and glory. The nation of Israel will be saved in one day.  

(Mat 24:14 KJV)  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Verse 14 speaks of the gospel of the kingdom being preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations (i.e., Gentiles) before the end of the age arrives. This verse is one of the most misinterpreted verses in all of Scripture. The gospel of the kingdom is not currently being preached. The gospel of grace is currently being preached, but the 144,000 Jews will preach the gospel of the kingdom during the last half of the seven-year tribulation period. The two witnesses—probably Elijah and Enoch—will also preach the gospel of the kingdom during this period. The gospel of the kingdom will be for the Gentiles, and numerous Gentiles will enter into the earthly aspect of the kingdom of God the Son. The judgment of the Gentiles will take place at the sheep and goat judgment, which will be explained in the Gentile section of the Olivet Discourse. Verse 14 ends the overview of the Jewish section of the discourse. Matthew follows the Semitic style of apocalyptic writing by first giving an overview of the section, and then going back to fill in the details.  

(Mat 24:15 KJV)  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  

In accordance with the Semitic style of apocalyptic writing, Verse 15 begins the detailed portion of the Jewish section and jumps back to the middle of the tribulation period. This verse provides more details of the last three and one-half years known as the "time of Jacob's trouble." The abomination of desolation is the Antichrist, and he sets himself up in the Jewish worship center in Jerusalem and claims to be god. The Great Synagogue is very likely the place where this event will take place. This means that the next temple to be built will be the one that Jesus builds at the end of the seven-year tribulation period. This act of blasphemy by Antichrist is the beginning of the "time of Jacob's trouble."  

(Mat 24:16 KJV)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Verse 16 gives instructions to the Jews living in Judea at the time that Antichrist sets himself up in the Jewish worship center in Jerusalem.  The Jews will flee to the wilderness Southeast of the Dead Sea, and will most likely hold up in the ancient city of Petra in modern day Jordan.  

(Mat 24:17-20 KJV)  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: {18} Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. {19} And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! {20} But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Verses 17 and 18 depict the rapidity that must be adhered to for the Jews to escape the vengeance of Antichrist. Verse 19 describes the danger for pregnant women and women with young babies, since they will be fleeing for their lives on foot. Verse 20 commands that they pray that their flight will not be in winter, and that it will not be on the Sabbath day, since they will have to travel further than the Talmud allows for a Sabbath journey.

(Mat 24:21-22 KJV)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. {22} And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Verse 21 describes the last three and one-half years as the worst tribulation that the world has ever known. The tribulation will be so great that verse 22 says that no one would have survived if the days had not been shortened. Numerous theologians have misinterpreted this verse.  The tribulation will still be three and one-half years long, but the days will literally be shortened by one-third for a part of the tribulation.  This will be accomplished by speeding up the rotation of the earth on its axis so that the days will only be sixteen hours long (Rev 8:12).  

(Mat 24:23-28 KJV)  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. {24} For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. {25} Behold, I have told you before. {26} Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. {27} For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. {28} For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Verses 23-26 warn the Jews against believing that the Christ (i.e., the Messiah) will come by ordinary means. Verse 27 depicts the coming of Jesus as being a supernatural event as visible as the lightning out of the East after a major storm has passed. Verse 28 alludes to the carnage that will take place at his return. This is the time that Jesus will tread the winepress of the wrath of God, and the blood will flow up to the horses' bridles (Rev 14:20). The vultures will gather to feed off the carcasses.  

(Mat 24:29 KJV)  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Verse 29 describes the unusual displays in the heavens just prior to the coming of Jesus in power and great glory.  The sun shall become dark and the moon will not shine.  This could be from the dust and debris ascending into the atmosphere from the nuclear devastation, but the description is more like that of a nova of the sun.  This is also in accord with the fourth and fifth vial in Revelation 16:8-11, since there is first intense heat and then darkness and cold. In a nova of the sun, the sun would burn very intensely for a short time, and then decrease below normal output for a short time. It would then return to its normal intensity.  Stars much larger than our sun tend to supernova or literally blow up.  A nova would cause the sun to become dark, and this would result in a failure of the moon to shine since the moon merely reflects light from the sun.  Some scientists in the past have estimated that the conditions of the sun make it ripe for a nova.  Whatever the cause the world will experience the exact condition described in the prophecy.  

Verse 29 also states that the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  The stars falling will almost certainly be apparent from the perspective of those on the earth. The earth tilting on its axis will most likely be the cause of this according to the following Scripture:  

Isa 24:20 (KJV) The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.

The falling stars and powers of the heavens being shaken will probably also have a figurative fulfillment with the fallen angels (i.e., principalities and powers) losing their positions of sovereignty over the earth.  

(Mat 24:30-31 KJV)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. {31} And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Verse 30 describes the appearance of the Son of man in power and great glory at the end of the seven years of tribulation.  The Scriptures do not say what the sign of the Son of man will be, but it will be clear to all when it happens, since all the tribes of the earth will mourn. Verse 31 describes the gathering of the elect of Israel from all over the earth. The description of this ingathering includes a resurrection of the elect of Israel, in addition to the gathering of the elect upon the earth who are still alive.  

This concludes the section of the Olivet Discourse addressed to the Jews. At this point the desolation of the house of Israel has ended, and Jesus Christ has returned to establish his kingdom upon the earth. The disciples' questions have been answered as regards the nation of Israel.  It is at this point that the restoration of Israel takes place with Jesus as their Messiah.  

Church Section (Mat. 24:32-25:30)  

This section of the Olivet Discourse is addressed to the Church. It describes the return of Jesus Christ as it regards the Church, so the frame of reference is not the seventieth week of Daniel but the entire Church Age plus 3-1/2 years of the tribulation period. It is very important for the reader to understand that everyone involved in the parables in this section is a Christian, whether faithful or unfaithful. The lessons in the parables are for the exhortation and edification of Christians, and all warnings are for Christians. The entire discourse in this section pertains to rewards and punishments that will be meted out in actual events upon the earth or at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Salvation in the evangelical sense is not an issue anywhere in this section.  It bears repeating that parables are peculiar to the Church and the Church Age, since they pertain to the kingdom of the heavens.  

The First Aspect of the Second Coming  

Stage One—The Pretribulation Rapture, Firstfruits Rapture, Separation, Midnight Cry, Christ Comes as Bridegroom, Jesus Comes as Thief to take that which is valuable, the Out-Resurrection, the Better Resurrection, The Open Door, The Narrow Door or Gate and Escaping the Hour of Trial or Temptation.  

Mat, 24:32-35 (KJV) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.  

These verses describe one of the two signs given to the Church that signals the return of Jesus Christ.  The parable of the fig tree is addressed to Christians and points to Israel as a sign to the Church, since Israel is symbolized in the Bible by a fig tree. An understanding of this parable requires an understanding of the following verses:  

Mat. 21:19-21 (KJV) And when he (i.e., Jesus) saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever (i.e., for the age). And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

A fig tree normally produces fruit before it produces leaves. When Jesus saw leaves, but no fruit on the fig tree, he knew it was barren so he placed a curse on it for the age—not  forever.  Since the fig tree symbolizes Israel, it was Israel that was found barren (i.e., no fruit), so Israel was the recipient of the curse for the age. Jesus is saying that when Israel puts forth its leaves (i.e., shows signs of life), the generation that sees this will not pass away until all the prophecies about the Second Coming of Jesus are fulfilled.  

Matthew 24:32-34 above simply says that the generation that sees Israel reestablished as a nation will still be in existence when all the prophecies about the return of Jesus have been fulfilled. Since Israel was established May 14, 1948 and man's years upon the earth are three score and ten (i.e., 70), then the beginning of the seven year tribulation must be very close. Verse 35 as follows is a special emphasis on the certainty of these prophecies coming to pass. 

(Mat 24:35-36 KJV)  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. {36} But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Verses 36-51 refer to the Second Advent of Christ for the Church. This section is specifically referring to the Firstfruits Rapture of Christians who have been faithful to the Lord. In verse 36 Jesus states that no man knows the day and hour of the parousia (i.e., second coming) of the Lord. Since this verse says that only the Father knows, many have taken it to mean that even Jesus Christ did not know the day and hour of his return, but this is not true, since He is God Incarnate. Jesus had the fullness of the Spirit, and this means He was fully God. He knew all things and all men, and nothing was hidden from him. Jesus Christ was God the Father manifest in the flesh. He remained deferent to the Father, but He was equal in knowledge. The meaning in the original language is that Jesus would not have known if he were not also the Father. This is also true for the passage in Mark 13:32. The main point is that the deity of Jesus cannot be separated from his humanity throughout his earthly life from his incarnation until his ascension. As the God-Man He was as much fully God as He was fully man.  

(Mat 24:37-39 KJV)  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. {38} For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, {39} And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Verse 37 is the second major sign for the Church to know that the parousia (i.e., second coming) of Jesus Christ was very close. This verse simply says that it will be as the days of Noah when the Lord returns. A description of the days before the flood is recorded in chapters 4, 5 and 6 of Genesis, so a study of these chapters of the Bible will help the reader see that the days we live in now exactly parallel the days before the flood.  

Chapter 4 of Genesis describes the economic picture at the time of Noah. Eight specific conditions are mentioned in chapter four, and they are religious apostasy, travel, city building, polygamy and sexuality, great agricultural advances, music, metallurgy, and violence and crime. All eight are the outstanding characteristics of today's world. Religious apostasy is probably the most significant, since large numbers of Christians have fallen away from the faith because of a lack of understanding of the two covenants of grace and works, and the great majority of Christians are Biblically illiterate.

There is a tremendous upsurge in interest in religion, but very little interest in walking with God and studying his Word. We are at the end of the Church Age of Laodicea, and apostasy and lukewarmness are the prevailing characteristics for the largest segment of Christianity. It is ironic that one of the primary characteristics of Laodicea is self-deception in believing that it is spiritually rich when it is actually wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.  

Chapter 5 of Genesis gives God's dispensational picture during the days before the flood. Enoch was the seventh from Adam and the number seven speaks of divine perfection. There were six generations of men who died, and then Enoch was raptured before he saw death. Enoch was a type of the rapture of the Firstfruits of the Church. He walked with God and was raptured or translated to heaven because of his faithfulness according to the following Scripture:  

Heb 11:5 (KJV) By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  

Enoch preached of the Second Coming of Christ, and he preached of coming judgment. This is the same message Paul gives to the carnal Christians in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3. Enoch knew that his son would be the last generation to exist before the flood, since he named his son Methuselah. The name Methuselah means, "when he is gone, then it will happen." The meaning of the name proved to be accurate, since the flood began the same year and day that Methuselah departed this earth. Thus, Methuselah is a type of the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church, which remains on the earth right up to the very day that God's judgments are poured out upon the earth. This is also seen in carnal Lot who was taken out of Sodom the very same day that God rained down judgment in the form of fire and brimstone.  

In conclusion of typology in this text of Scripture, Noah is left as a type of God's people who are sealed and pass through the judgments of God, miraculously protected by Christ himself. The three arks in the Bible all symbolize Jesus Christ who makes atonement for the sins of his people. Thus, the sealing of Noah in the ark by God symbolizes the 144,000 Jews who are sealed in their foreheads because of their faithfulness.  

Noah is also a type of the nation of Israel and the Gentiles who will be preserved throughout the last half of Daniel's seventieth week and enter into the millennial kingdom as God's earthly people. The 144,000 Jews are the Firstfruits of the nation of Israel. Israel will be saved in a day in the prophetic fulfillment of the feast of Atonement. See my dissertation on The Seven Feasts of God  for an understanding of the prophetic meaning of these feasts.  

Matthew 24:38-39 depicts the Second Coming as a time when individuals will be going about their normal activities without realizing the closeness of coming judgment. This is exactly the way it is for the world and much of the Church right now. Most Christians are totally oblivious to the present signs that are signaling the soon return of Jesus Christ in three separate events. He will first come as Bridegroom and remove his bride. He will then come as Lord and remove the Main Body of the Church. He will then come as King to Israel and the nations to set up His kingdom.  

(Mat 24:40-42 KJV)  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. {41} Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. {42} Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  

Verses 40 and 41 are routinely taken to mean a saved and an unsaved person standing next to each other and only the saved person will be taken. When these verses are read carefully within their context, the picture is that of two saved individuals together and only one of them will be taken. It is important to repeat that the promise of Christ's return and the judgment is only for believers. In the context, Jesus is talking to his disciples and these two verses are a warning to them that they must be ready when the Lord comes, or they will be left behind to endure the persecution of Antichrist.

Verse 42, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come," is clearly a warning to the disciples that they must be prepared for the return of Jesus or they will be left behind. The following verse also addresses this warning:  

Luke 21:36 (KJV) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

The criterion for being the one taken is clearly preparation for the Lord's return by being alert and prepared. The admonition is not "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," since the above verse is addressed to believers who have already been saved spiritually.  

An Old Testament type of this New Testament truth is the example of Elijah and Elisha who were walking along two by two. A fiery chariot separated them and only Elijah was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind. Elijah is a type of the Firstfruits who are raptured at the beginning of the tribulation, and Elisha is a type of the tribulation Christian who will be raptured at the middle of the tribulation.  

When Elisha saw Elijah ascend into heaven, he immediately rent his clothes, a picture of repentance. This is exactly what the majority of the Church will do when they realize that certain ones have been taken, and they have been left behind. Elisha then took the mantle of Elijah, parted the Jordan River, and crossed over. In the Scriptures, crossing over Jordan is a picture of entering the spirit-filled life, and this is exactly what numerous Christians will do after the Firstfruits rapture. Elisha then purified a spring of water, a picture of leading others into the spirit-filled life. This is also a prophecy of the Church in the coming tribulation.  

Elisha was then mocked for his bald head and teased by a group of young men because he was not raptured like Elijah. They taunted him by saying, "Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head" (2 Kings 2:23). Baldness in Scripture is a symbol of defilement, and those carnal Christians who are defiled by the world and not cleansed by the Lord Jesus Christ will be left behind at the Firstfruits rapture. Thus, Elisha is a primary type of that part of the Church left to go through the tribulation, and Elijah is a primary type of that part of the Church that is raptured as Firstfruits.  

It is also very important to understand that Elisha received a double portion of Elijah's spirit. This is a picture of Christians who will go through the first half of the seven-year tribulation. The tribulation will be a return to the Old Testament method of empowerment by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will come upon people to empower them for special assignments. Thus, Christians during the first half of the tribulation will be both indwelled by the Holy Spirit and empowered by the Holy Spirit coming upon them for acts of service. This will be the prophetic fulfillment of Elisha having a double portion of spirit. Christians during the tribulation will need this double portion of spirit to endure until the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church in the middle of the tribulation. Please read my dissertation The Separation for a brief but thorough explanation of the Firstfruits Rapture with numerous proof texts from Scripture.  

(Mat 24:43 KJV)  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

The “goodman” of the house represents the pastors in the Church today, and since they do not study Bible prophecy and are not watching, they have not prepared their flocks for the separation. Consequently, the Church (i.e., the house) will be broken up or split up at the separation (i.e., Firstfruits Rapture).  

(Mat 24:44 KJV)  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Jesus ends this with a warning to watch, so the reader can be prepared and go with the faithful and wise servants.

(Mat 24:45-51 KJV)  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? {46} Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. {47} Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. {48} But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; {49} And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; {50} The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, {51} And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

Matthew 24:45-51 is a description of two courses available to a servant of the Lord. It is important to note that the servant is the same individual in both courses of action. This is done to illustrate that a servant of the Lord (i.e., a saved or spiritually reborn person) has the choice of being a faithful or unfaithful (i.e., evil) servant, and he will be justly recompensed for his actions either way. The faithful servant will be blessed, and he will be made a ruler in the coming millennial kingdom. Note: The Just Recompense of Reward can be positive or negative.  

The unfaithful or evil servant is described as one who disregards the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many Christians who attend church services weekly are guilty of delaying or minimizing the importance of the return of Jesus Christ. This simply means that they are not looking for the return of Jesus, and they push it off into the distant future in their own minds. This is the same Christian who mocks and ostracizes those Christians who are actively looking for the return of Jesus. This is the meaning of the unfaithful servant smiting his fellow servants. Many Christians have ceased talking about the return of Jesus because they have been smitten so much by these unfaithful servants. These unfaithful servants will also "eat and drink with the drunken." This simply means that these Christians will be caught up in the affairs of the world.

Verse 50 makes it clear that these servants will not be looking for the return of Jesus, and they will not even be aware of the hour that Jesus does come. They will be the ones who are left at the Firstfruits Rapture. They will be "cut asunder" (i.e., separated) and assigned their portions with the hypocrites. This refers to carnal Christians suffering in the world during the first half of the tribulation. This is a message the carnal Laodicean church members of today do not want to hear, and unfortunately, few pastors are as bold as Paul was in 1 Corinthians 3.  

The Ten Virgins (Parable about the Church)  

(Mat 25:1 KJV)  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

This verse is a continuation of what Jesus has been talking about in regard to the separation of the faithful and wise servant from the evil servant. He provides a parable that further elaborates how it will be at the time of the first stage of His coming. The mystery aspect of the kingdom of heaven is the current age. Since He is still talking about the Church, the ten virgins represent the whole Church. Ten is the number of ordinal completion, so the whole Church is in view. All are virgins, which means true born-again believers cleansed by the blood of Christ. They all have lamps that are burning. The lamp is the outward profession of faith. They departed from where they were, which is from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive, to have an encounter with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  

(Mat 25:2 KJV)  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

Five of the virgins were wise or thoughtful, and five were foolish or heedless. This entire parable shows the antithesis of how the wise virgins are in opposition to the foolish virgins in one particular area. The wise virgins are thoughtful and obedient to the Word of God. The foolish virgins are heedless, and are not obedient to the Word of God. This antithesis is very important in helping us to understand the true meaning of verse 5 below.  

(Mat 25:3 KJV) They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

The five heedless virgins had their lamps with oil in them (i.e., they were burning), but they did not have the extra measure of oil in their vessels like the wise had with them. The extra measure of oil is the filling of the Holy Spirit that comes from a faithful study of the Word of God.  The filling of the Holy Spirit means that the Holy Spirit controlled the five wise virgins. The vessels represent the Christian's body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. All Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, but most are not filled with the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:4 KJV)  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  

The wise or thoughtful virgins were filled with the Holy Spirit. They had the extra measure of oil in their vessels, which represent their bodies.  

(Mat 25:5 KJV) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered (3573) and slept.

This verse has been grossly mistranslated, and the translation is misleading. This parable thus far has provided two antithetical groups of people (i.e., wise and foolish virgins). There is a difference in the reactions between the wise and the foolish virgins. The antithesis continues in this verse, but the translators failed to see this. A correct paraphrase of this verse—with the assistance of Spiros Zodhiates—in regard to Greek grammar only—is as follows:  

(Mat 25:5 Paraphrase) While the Bridegroom tarried in His coming, all of the ten virgins either beckoned for him to return or they fell asleep.

An accurate, literal word-for-word translation of this verse is as follows:  

(Mat 25:5 Literal) While the bridegroom tarried, they all beckoned or slept.  

The Greek word that has been translated slumbered literally means to nod in signaling or beckoning for what one desires to be done. The Greek word between slumbered and slept is a copulative or coordinating conjunction that can mean and if it is a continuative copulative, or it can mean or if it is an adversative copulative. It can only be used as an adversative copulative when the thought is sufficiently strong to show from the context that the two words it connects are in opposition with one another. Jesus describes five of the virgins as wise and five as foolish.  If this is not sufficient to show the copulative to be adversative, then words can not be trusted as to their meaning.  Of course, the copulative is adversative. The five wise virgins are beckoning for Jesus to return, but the five foolish virgins have fallen asleep. This is precisely the situation in the Church today. The Philadelphia church is wide awake signaling, praying, beckoning, pleading for Jesus to return, but the remainder of the Church is fast asleep, and oblivious to the signs of the times. The word “maranatha” is a beckon for Jesus to return.  

The following are the Greek words straight out of Strong's and Thayer's lexicons of the Greek language, and the meaning of beckon out of the American Heritage Dictionary:  

3573  nustazo (noos-tad'-zo);

from a presumed derivative of 3506; to nod, i.e. (by implication) to fall asleep; figuratively, to delay:

KJV-- slumber.  

Strong 3506  neuo (nyoo'-o);

apparently a primary verb; to "nod", i.e. (by analogy,) signal:

KJV-- beckon.

Thayer 3506  neuo-

1) to give a nod

2) to signify by a nod (of what one wishes to be done)  

beck-on  v. beck-oned, beck-on-ing, beck-ons. --tr. 1. To signal or summon, as by nodding or waving. 2. To attract because of an inviting or enticing appearance:  "a lovely, sunny country that seemed to beckon them on to the Emerald City" (L. Frank Baum). --intr. 1. To make a signaling or summoning gesture. 2. To be inviting or enticing. --beck-on n. A gesture of summons.  

sum-mons  n., pl. sum-mons-es. 1. A call by an authority to appear, come, or do something.

(Mat 25:6 KJV) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Midnight is the time that the bride and her court will be taken out of the earth. The midnight cry is a clamor or outcry that Jesus the Bridegroom is coming. The five wise virgins who are fully awake, alert and beckoning for Jesus to return will almost certainly initiate the midnight cry. The foolish virgins will arouse from their deep sleep at the midnight cry. The goodmen of the house (i.e., pastors in the Church) will also awaken at the midnight cry. The following verses describe the reaction of the foolish virgins when they are awakened from their sleep.  

(Mat 25:7 KJV) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

The outcry will be sufficient to wake up all of the five foolish virgins. The picture is that the five wise virgins are awake and alert, but the midnight cry awakens the foolish sleeping virgins.  The word "those" refers to the foolish virgins who were asleep—NOT THE WISE VIRGINS BECKONING FOR THE RETURN OF THE BRIDEGROOM. The foolish virgins will wake up and trim their lamps. The trimming of the lamp is the cutting of the dead part of the wick away, so the oil can flow through without being impeded. When the foolish virgins’ lamps were trimmed, they realized that they were about out of oil because their lamps were quenched.  They did not have the extra measure of oil, which is the filling of the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:8 KJV)  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  

The foolish then speak to the wise virgins and ask for oil, since the newly trimmed wicks are allowing the free flow of oil, and their lamps are going out—not gone out—since they were low on oil. The Greek word for “gone out” in this verse means quenched. The spiritual meaning is that the actions of the Holy Spirit were quenched in the lives of these Christians.  

(Mat 25:9 KJV)  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

The wise virgins tell the foolish virgins that they need to go and buy oil for themselves.  This shows that the extra measure of oil requires works.  The indwelling Holy Spirit is a free gift, but the filling of the Holy Spirit requires works.  It requires studying the Word of God, dying to the old self, prayer and works through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:10 KJV)  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

While the foolish virgins suddenly get serious about their walk with the Lord, the Separation occurs, and the five wise virgins go through "The Open Door."  

The key to the above passage of Scripture is the Lord as Bridegroom.  Only the wise virgins go into the marriage, and not all of these are addressed or qualify as the bride.  

(Mat 25:11 KJV)  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

After the five wise virgins had gone to heaven in the Open Door, the others come and ask the Lord to open to them.  The fact that they call Him Lord, Lord shows that they are saved. An unsaved reprobate does not call Jesus Lord, nor is he concerned about going to heaven in “The Open Door.” Also, the unsaved reprobate does not seek forgiveness of his sins (i.e., trim his wick) nor seek more of the Holy Spirit (i.e., seek more oil from the wise virgins).  

(Mat 25:12 KJV)  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

He denies that he recognizes them.  "I know you not" simply means that He does not recognize them.  They are so caught up in the affairs of the world that they look like the world. Jesus will reject all unfaithful Christians for a position in his kingdom at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Jesus warns his disciples that He will deny those Christians who do not confess or acknowledge him before men. This simply means that they will be rejected for a position in his kingdom. The Scripture passage of Jesus warning his disciples is as follows:  

(Mat 10:32-33 KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. {33} But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.  

(Mat 25:13 KJV)  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.  

Jesus sums this parable up with a warning for Christians to watch for his return to determine the day as it approaches.  The evil servant uses this verse as an excuse for not studying Bible prophecy, but the opposite is actually true.  It is an exhortation to study and watch and be alert to the revealed prophecies, so we will know the signs of the times and be aware as we see the day approaching.  

This ends the first aspect of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Jesus now describes the events leading up the second aspect of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  

The Second Aspect

Stage Two—The Rapture, Main Harvest Rapture, Midtribulation Rapture, Prewrath Rapture, Christ Comes as Lord, Judgment Seat of Christ, Day of Christ, Day of the Lord, Wrath of the Lamb, Judgments of God, Middle of the Tribulation, Time of Jacob's Trouble, Wrath of God.

The second aspect of the Second Coming takes place in the middle of the tribulation period.  It is the time of the Main Harvest Rapture of all of those Christians who were left behind at the Firstfruits Rapture or the Separation.  It is the time that Satan is cast out of the first heaven (i.e., the atmosphere above the earth) and down to earth.  He takes up his abode in the Antichrist, and he goes and sits in the temple and claims to be God.  Since the entire Church is now gone, Antichrist will begin his persecution of the Jews who are still upon the earth.  This terrible time for the Jews is called the Time of Jacob's trouble.  All of these events are described elsewhere in Scripture, but since we are still in the Church section of the Olivet Discourse, the following verses describe the Church during the first half of the tribulation period right up to the Main Harvest Rapture and the Judgment Seat of Christ. 

The three servants typify the three Churches of Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicea who were left behind at the Separation.  They also represent the five foolish virgins who were rejected from going through the open door.  They were not accounted worthy to enter into the marriage.  

(Mat 25:14 KJV)  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  

The underlined insert by the translators does not clarify this passage as they intended.  It obscures the true meaning of the verse.  Therefore, it should be removed in order to determine the correct meaning of the verse.  Therefore, the passage literally reads:  

(Mat 25:14 Literal) For as a man traveling into a far country called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

The man is Jesus Christ, and traveling into a far country means going abroad or into another realm.  His own servants mean that they belong to him already, or they are already saved.  Delivered means that He completely turned over all of his wealth (i.e., earthly) to these servants.  The "For" refers back to an antecedent, which is the parable of the virgins.  Since the parable of the virgins described the Separation, this parable continues the explanation.  A paraphrase would be "For the separation is as a man traveling into another realm, and he called his own servants and delivered all of His wealth into their hands to be used by them on behalf of the Master."  Thus, the aftermath of the Separation is described in the following verses in perfect sequence.  

(Mat 25:15 KJV)  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

The wealth was distributed according to the servant’s own ability.  At the separation, the Christians who have been left behind will be subject to Antichrist, and the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit will have been removed.  The Christians left will prosper or fall according to their own abilities without the intervention of the Holy Spirit.    

It is important to note that there are three servants.  This is in accord with the three churches left behind, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego going through the furnace of fire, and the three types of seed that did not bear fruit in the current age.  Other typical passages of Scripture confirm that it will be a time of the famine of the Word of God.  There will be enough to sustain the servants, but it will not be the quality that we have now with the Holy Spirit as our teacher.  

(Mat 25:16 KJV)  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

Christians will work according to their own ability, and we will see later that reward will be proportional to what the servant did in relation to his abilities.  This servant doubled the wealth of the master.  Please note that this is in contrast to the parables of the kingdom where the servants bore fruit 100-60-30 fold.  

(Mat 25:17 KJV)  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

This servant also doubled that portion of the Master’s wealth for which he had responsibility.  The word for gain means the profit that comes in escaping from evil.  

(Mat 25:18 KJV)  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

This verse means the individual burrowed into the ground and hid or kept secret that he had any of the Lord's wealth.  This is the Christian in the tribulation period who hides away and keeps it a secret that he is a Christian.  This establishes that those Christians who are left behind should continue or actually embark upon doing the Lord's work, even if it means severe persecution or even death.  

(Mat 25:19 KJV)  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

We know from Daniel 7:25 that the length of this period is 42 months.  It will seem like an eternity to the Christians who are going through the tribulation under Antichrist.  Also, 42 months is a very long time for an individual to stay on a journey abroad.  It is a very long time from the Christian's perspective, especially while in tribulation.  

This coming is in the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church, and the reckoning is the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The use of the phrase "those servants" shows that these are not all of the Lord's servants, for He has already reckoned with the faithful and wise servants.  

(Mat 25:20 KJV)  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

The servant is giving an account of his life during the time of the Lord's absence.  This time is during the first half of the tribulation period.  It is important to note that the Lord is not absent from us currently, since He is with us via the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:21 KJV)  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things (i.e., a short time), I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

The Lord commends him as a "good and faithful servant" and tells him that he has been faithful over a short time.  The word for "few things" means a short time.  Thus, it says "Thou has been faithful a short time."  This perspective is from God rather than man so it is a short time.  Remember that from the servant's perspective, it was a long time.

It is important to note that this "good and faithful servant" is in strong contrast to the "faithful and wise servant" who went out in the Separation.  The "faithful and wise" servant was made ruler over "all things."  This servant is made ruler over "many things." 

This servant is the most faithful servant during the tribulation period, and he does not attain to the highest level or position in the kingdom, but he does attain to a position in the kingdom.  

(Mat 25:22 KJV)  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

The second servant gives his accounting for his work during the tribulation period, and he also doubled His Master's goods.

(Mat 25:23 KJV)  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

This servant is also called "good and faithful" and he also has been faithful over a short period of time.  He is made ruler over "many things" also.  Entering into the joy of the Lord shows entrance into the kingdom, although into a lesser position than the 24 elders and the Four Living Creatures as described in Revelation.  

(Mat 25:24 KJV)  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed:

This verse confirms that this servant was in the tribulation period.  He calls the master a harsh man.  He is resentful of being cast into the tribulation period.  He takes no responsibility for being cast there because of his unfaithfulness during the present time.  This shows that he has not repented as the other two servants.  In addition, he states that the Master reaps where He has not sown.  All seed sown during the current age were sown by the Master, but the seed sown (i.e., those saved during the tribulation) will take place in the Master's absence.  The "gathering where thou hast not strowed" refers to the gathered grain that has been separated during the threshing and winnowing process.  This will take place during the tribulation period, and it is Antichrist who will be wielding the tribulum and the winnowing fork.  It is strange that Antichrist will actually be working for the Lord, but he will do it unknowingly.  We need to remember the type of Boaz on the threshing floor.  He was asleep during the night of threshing and winnowing, and Ruth (i.e., the faithful and wise servants) was protected under his cloak during this time.  

(Mat 25:25 KJV)  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

The servant admits that he was afraid and hid the fact that he was a Christian.  He still has the Master's goods that have been entrusted to him, but he has not gained any profit.  He has still not produced any fruit through the use of his Master's wealth.  

(Mat 25:26 KJV)  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed:

The unfaithful servant is sternly rebuked for his continued unfaithfulness during the tribulation period.  He is called evil and lazy.  

(Mat 25:27 KJV)  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

The exchangers are those two servants who did work using the Lord's talents to help the Lord realize a profit.  This wicked and slothful servant could have at least allowed his talent to be used by these two servants, even if he did not use them himself.  If he had merely assisted the other two servants with his talent, then the Lord would have realized a small profit, even though it may not have been doubled as with the first two servants.  

The wicked servant had not repented as the other two servants and he hid the fact that he was a Christian.  Consequently, he did not work for the Lord, and he did not assist the other two servants in their work.  He must suffer the consequences, which is the loss of his inheritance.  He will not enter the kingdom.  

(Mat 25:28 KJV)  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

The evil servant's inheritance is taken from him and given to the one who was faithful.  

(Mat 25:29 KJV)  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

Everyone in the tribulation who has used the talents the Lord has given them will be given even more responsibility, but those who did not use their talents in the Lord's work will lose their inheritance in the Lord's kingdom.

(Mat 25:30 KJV)  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The unfaithful servant is cast into outer darkness, which is a position outside of the kingdom.  Outer darkness is not hell.  Outer darkness is an idiom for a person who receives the displeasure of the Lord and is not honored with a position in the kingdom.  

Gentile Section (Mat. 25:31-46)  

This section is commonly called the sheep and goat judgment. The time of this judgment is immediately after the return of Jesus at the end of the seven-year tribulation. Verse 31 states that it is “When the Son of man comes in his glory.”  Therefore, it is not a judgment of Jews or Christians, but a judgment of Gentiles who have performed good works in their treatment of the brethren of Jesus (i.e., the Jews). The fact that they perform good works during the last half of the tribulation demonstrates that they had been saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ at some point in the early part of the tribulation. Therefore, these Gentiles are those who respond to the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is preached by the 144,000 Jews during the last half of the seven-year tribulation. None of these Gentiles will be members of the Church, since they will be saved after the Church Age has ended.  

The preaching of those in the Church who have been left behind will save the 144,000 Jews who will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom during the last half of the tribulation. These Gentiles who respond to the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom during the last half of the tribulation will be those Gentiles who respond to the preaching of Christians during the first half of the tribulation. In other words, many Christians who are unfaithful in their witnessing now will be faithful witnesses during the three and one-half years in which they are persecuted by Antichrist. These are the Christians who will have “washed their robes” in Rev. 7:14.  

It is important to understand that the Gospel of the Kingdom is always a message for believers, whether they are Jews, Christians, or Gentiles. This was true when Jesus, the Twelve, and the Seventy preached the Gospel of the Kingdom at the first advent of Jesus, and it will be true at his Second Advent. The Gospel of Grace is the message for the lost to “believe and be saved.” The Word of the Kingdom is the message to believers to “repent,” “obey,” and “seek the kingdom.”  

The following Bible text in The Olivet Discourse is commonly called the sheep and goat judgment. Contrary to popular opinion, this judgment has nothing to do with those Christians that are part of the Church. Neither does it have anything to do with the Judgment of Israel. It specifically pertains to the judgment of saved Gentiles on the earth during the last half of the tribulation period who are still alive after the battle of Armageddon. This judgment takes place when Jesus comes to earth in his glory at the end of the seven-year tribulation period (vs. 1). Jesus will sit on his earthly throne and all nations (i.e., ethnos = Gentiles) who have not been supernaturally placed in the winepress of the wrath of God will be gathered before him for a judgment of their works during the last half of the tribulation period.  

The sheep and goat judgment is a works judgment of saved Gentiles. The judgment will be according to how these Gentiles treated the brethren of Jesus Christ during the time of Jacob’s trouble. Those who helped the Jews during this period will enter into the earthly aspect of the kingdom. Those who did not help the Jews during this period will not enter into the earthly aspect of the kingdom. There will be a just recompense of reward for all the Gentiles who remain alive at the end of the tribulation period.  

Both the sheep and the goats are saved spiritually, but only the sheep will have positions of responsibility in the earthly aspect of the kingdom. All the unsaved Gentiles will have been cast into the winepress of the wrath of God and slaughtered when Jesus treads the winepress. It is their blood that flowed out of the winepress (i.e., valley) up to the horses’ bridles. They will be resurrected to receive their judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment.  

Bible Text for the Sheep and Goat Judgment  

(Mat 25:31-46 KJV)  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: {32} And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: {33} And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. {34} Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: {35} For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: {36} Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. {37} Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? {38} When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? {39} Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? {40} And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. {41} Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: {42} For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: {43} I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. {44} Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? {45} Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. {46} And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.  

Please note that the goats call Jesus Lord. They fail to realize eternal life, which is salvation of their souls. Instead, they lose their inheritance in the earthly aspect of the kingdom. This is their punishment (i.e., chastisement) (vs. 46) that lasts for the entire millennial age. They receive no honor and glory for their lives.  

Summary

It is necessary for the reader to understand the dispensational aspects of the Bible in order to grasp the prophetic truths taught throughout Scripture. Admittedly, it is no easy task to understand these truths, but the effort devoted to understanding them will be greatly rewarded.

The three different sections of the Olivet Discourse must be understood in relation to the people being addressed.  For example, the Christian would not be looking for the signs in the section addressed to the Jews, nor would he be looking for the sheep and goat judgment applicable to the Gentiles who will be saved during the seven-year tribulation.  Instead, the Christian should be looking forward to the Rapture of the Firstfruits, and he should be praying that he would be accounted worthy to receive the “open door.”